ONE million Scots are to be recruited to clear the country of litter ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup in the biggest clean-up operation Scotland has ever seen.
Keep Scotland Beautiful will lead the mammoth campaign, Clean Up Scotland, which aims to ensure the country is looking at its best when thousands of people arrive from across the world to enjoy the prestigious sporting events.
Volunteers will be recruited from next year, with organisers hoping that the scale of public support for the clean-up will encourage a gradual zero-tolerance approach to the dumping of litter and mess.
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It follows a recent Government announcement of a crackdown on littering and the approval of additional funding of £300,000 for Zero Waste Scotland in a similar bid to ensure the country is rubbish-free when presented on the world stage.
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: "Scotland is a beautiful country, but it could be so much better without litter and mess.
"We conducted a survey which found that more than half of Scots have dropped litter and that almost half do it on a regular basis. It's an unacceptable situation and this campaign will change it.
"Small efforts by ordinary people can make a big difference and we want one million people to join with us in making this campaign a success."
Clean Up Scotland plans to engage the public and voluntary and private organisations in a range of clean-up activities throughout the country.
These will range from signing a simple pledge to organising a spruce up of their local area.
It is hoped the campaign will highlight the issues that affect many Scots, such as litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping, fly-posting and graffiti.
Mr Robertson added: "I am calling on individuals, local groups and businesses to participate in activities ranging from signing the pledge on our website, to donating money to the campaign, to organising or participating in a local clean-up.
"We will bring the kit – all you need to do is bring yourself and your pride in your local area.
"This is the perfect time to act on Scotland's environmental problems.
"Within two years, we are staging global events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, and we should all want Scotland to shine when the eyes of the world are watching."
The campaign has been backed by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, who claimed it will make it easy for everyone to do their bit for Scotland.
Mr Lochhead said: "There is simply no excuse for litter on Scotland's streets and beauty spots – this is such senseless antisocial behaviour.
"We can all stop creating mess, and this campaign makes it easy for people to do their bit.
"A national litter strategy is being developed by the Scottish Government to address the litter problem, and we will host a summit in the new year to bring together organisations with responsibilities for tackling litter to find the best ways to solve the problem."
Shadow Environment Minister, Labour MSP Claudia Beamish, added: "I hope this initiative will prove successful in ensuring public spaces are kept clear of the rubbish, which, unfortunately, is an all too common sight on Scotland's streets."
Anyone looking to sign up to the campaign can do so at www.cleanupscotland.com/pledge.